Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Demote Diaz

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Demote Diaz

Article excerpt

PHOENIX * The Cardinals have tried shock therapy at several different levels in this disappointing season.

They traded former regular first baseman Matt Adams to Atlanta for a Class A prospect. They sent regular outfielder Randal Grichuk to Class A. They reassigned their third-base coach and released former regular Jhonny Peralta. And on Wednesday, the scythe was wielded for 2016 All-Star shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who was optioned to Class AAA Memphis.

Taking the roster place of Diaz, who hit .300 last season as a rookie, is infielder Alex Mejia, also 26, who was purchased from Memphis. Diaz left with seven home runs but only a .293 on-base percentage and .396 slugging percentage.

Mejia, a University of Arizona product who has been in the system for six seasons since being chosen in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, had hit .303 for his last nine games at Memphis. He had started the season at Class AA Springfield, where he hit .251. He has started 69 games at shortstop this season, two at second base and one at third.

Diaz, who appeared to have some tears in his eyes, said the option caught him by surprise. Asked if it was the right move, he said, "Ah ... I don't think I'm the right person to ask about that."

But Diaz, who leads the club in at-bats at 273, hits at 70 and doubles with 16, said he wanted to get to Memphis and begin playing as soon as he could.

"If this is the best for the team, I'm happy for that," he said.

General manager John Mozeliak said the decision was a difficult one. "What we really want to see is that he's able to take a deep breath and go down and work on some things offensively, as well as his whole game," said Mozeliak.

"I feel like the current path he was on was becoming more stressful to try to get him the at-bats and playing time. We're just going to try to find the right key to get him back up here."

Rookie Paul DeJong, who has been impressive at bat and a bit less so in the field, will be the shortstop for now, although Mozeliak said DeJong's success was independent of the decision to demote Diaz.

Mozeliak said, "I'm not sure," when asked what had happened to Diaz. …

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